How Māori media will prove vital in the future

The role Māori media play in the future of the industry is in the spotlight after the Government made a multimillion-dollar bid to keep the media industry afloat.

Broadcast minister Kris Faafoi announced a $50 million lifeline to the media industry to support it through the COVID-19 pandemic - and there is a promise of more to come in the upcoming budget.

Matai Rangi Smith is the general manager of iwi radio station Tūranga FM in Gisborne. During the lockdown Smith says the station is receiving no extra funding for the additional COVID-19 content it's providing for the community. 

Smith knows the vital role iwi radio plays in his community and how it's often for the first port of call for kaumātua.

"We get treated like the pōtiki - even the funding is not quite up with the other mātāmua.

"When we compare to other radio stations, we operate on the smell of an oily rag."

The Spinoff's Ātea editor Leonie Hayden says the commercial ways of old aren't working and the media can't wait for Government bailouts.

Hayden wants Government ministers to make a concerted effort to make sure that Māori voices, immigrant voices and diverse voices are heard.

"It shouldn't be a matter of money or who's a failing business and who's not a failing business."

Campbell Squared communications specialist Scott Campbell says during the lockdown he's seen the success Māori have had in reaching their community through radio and newspaper.

If the Government wants to use an online platform to reach Māori, Campbell says it must improve access.

"Focus on getting to our people and that connectivity - we need our people to have access to the internet."

Hayden says with the Government looking to bolster the outcomes for Local Democracy Reporting, iwi radio stations are the perfect place to start.

She believes it's important every mainstream media outlet has a Treaty of Waitangi partnership at its core and they work together with Māori media.

"Those two things shouldn't be thought of as separate anymore."

The Hui